Milutin Sredojevic is using the Caf Champions League and Premiership games to fine-tune his team for the Telkom Knockout final. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Even with several changes, Orlando Pirates coach Micho Sredojevic has said their Caf Champions League match against Light Stars and the Premiership clash against Maritzburg United are being used to sharpen their game for the Telkom Knockout final.

They started slowly on Wednesday night when they hosted the amateur outfit from Seychelles, but in the end, the Buccaneers claimed a 5-1 victory to take to Praslin in five days’ time.

It’s the kind of result that affords Sredojevic the chance to leave behind his key players for the cup final against Baroka FC in Port Elizabeth in the same week, having used them against Maritzburg in the league.

“We were disappointed that the margin wasn’t higher,” the coach said.

“You could see we then brought on some of our ‘firefighters’ (Justin Shonga and Thembinkosi Lorch) after we had left them on the bench to give other players an opportunity.

“But when we felt the score-line wasn’t what it should be, then we acted.”

The Buccaneers would have to be quite robotic in their approach to not think about the cup final – and the chance to finally end their trophy drought, which stretches more than four years.

For all the talk that Pirates are playing some very eye-catching football and are genuine title contenders following their second place finish last season, earning them qualification into the Champions League, the fact that there’s still no silverware to show for it gives their current form very little credibility.

“We have two matches that are a bridge towards that (the TKO final),” Sredojevic explained.

“Yes, subconsciously we are looking at having our peak form in that game against Baroka, because it means a lot.

“And when you have that in mind, there is one part of our thinking that is geared towards that, but we also have to build the house – from the foundation, first floor, second floor and ultimately the roof.

“The first floor is Maritzburg United here at home, second floor is in Seychelles and then it comes – the roof that is supposed to happen in that game, the cup final.

“When I hear someone say Baroka is beatable, I have to respect that opinion, but also our opponents, who beat Sundowns and Wits to get there.”


The Star

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